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Parent thinks Hanover-Horton teacher investigation took too long

Posted at 7:35 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 20:18:09-04

LANSING, Mich. — A local school board is deciding whether or not to fire a teacher and football coach who was accused of having sex with a former student.

The decision is being made in the Hanover-Horton School District in Jackson County. Board members will use the findings from an internal investigation to decide if Johnnie Stewart gets fired.

One parent thinks it took too long to get to this point, but the superintendent says his hands were tied.

This Hanover-Horton school district mom who did not want to be identified says the way parents heard about the investigation into Teacher Johnnie Stewart was all wrong. Emails from the superintendent spiraled into rumors.

"We didn't really hear anything until school was out and it was the middle of the summer and we were told that they had heard about it back in the fall. They tried to keep everything quiet," the parent said.

She feels parents were left in the dark, and says she wasn't surprised. She told me she's had enough of what she and other parents feel is inaction from the district.

"This is kind of just the last straw not just with this teacher but also the administration. They have ignored many outcries from the community to have this teacher removed which also makes me question what other instances happened that we don't know about,' the parent said.

The superintendent and board members didn't respond to Fox 47's request for a comment, but multiple letters were sent home to parents, starting on June 20 when the allegations surfaced.

At that time, Superintendent John Denney said the accuser had not made a formal or informal complaint to the district. He said that left him with no choice to but allow Stewart to keep teaching.

On June 23, he sent another letter home saying the district received a formal complaint and Stewart was being placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation was conducted.

The parent is still skeptical about what will happen at the meeting, but is hopeful.

"I guess I'll kind of wait and see what they say to me they're pretty much just trying to sugar coat it and shoe Johnnie Stewart out of the district and not solve any of the underlying problems that are still there," The parent said.

Stewart has taught at Hanover-Horton since 1995. The superintendent appointed an interim football coach to lead the team until a decision is made.

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